Not long after my first daughter was born, I purchased my first DSLR camera, the Canon 10D. It was a lot of camera for a novice photographer, but I was determined to learn how to use it. My goal was to capture moments, not just images. As a person who is always looking for something to do with my extra late night hours, this was the perfect hobby!
I would spend hours studying composition, lighting, metering, exposure and learning how to use the editing tools in a digital darkroom. I studied every “moment” I captured… thinking carefully how I could make the next shot I took the best one ever, and the worst one moving forward. It’s for that reason, that I never became a “machine-gun” photographer. Every moment was carefully composed, lit and timed so it was captured the first shot which also reduced the number of images that I would have to delete or archive later.
Within 18 months, I was selling that semi-pro 10D camera and had stepped up to the pro body of the Canon 1D– primarily because a friend who had seen my amateur work, asked me to shoot some product for his company. Fast forward six 1D bodies later, and clients ranging from power sports to surf to fashion… I finally “retired” from this hobby in 2013.
Photography was never a full-time job for me and even though I was blessed with a very decent income over the six years that I had my own studio; I never described or thought of myself as a photographer. As a full-time business consultant, to me photography was just a well-paid hobby that afforded me the income (and excuse) to buy the best gear available. A lot of people didn’t know what I did for my day job… my commercial clients, families that asked me to do photo sessions, and even a lot of my church family who saw me with my trusty Canon, shooting event after event… they all knew me as, “the photographer”.
I have to admit that bothered me a bit. It’s like being known as my dad’s son, versus by my name, Caesar. And it’s for that reason that I gave up photography. The focus had gone from the subjects in front of the lens to the person behind the lens. While I take pride in my work, I know that the honor doesn’t go to me. I didn’t form my cornea, or the optic nerves that connect to my brain that send signals to my hands, which were not of my making, that allow me to perfectly coordinate the release of the shutter in order to capture God’s amazing creation!
I finally realized, that like that trusty Canon in my hands, created by teams of engineers in Japan. I too am an instrument, to be used for our Creator’s good purpose, and whatever role He chooses for me. Sure, I am a photographer, I am also a Christian, a husband, a father, a son, a brother and an entrepreneur. I have no idea how God will use this passion I have for capturing His amazing creation. But I have learned, regardless of my role or title… that the focus is and should always be on Him.